slide1

The WebPal Wire

Get our latest updates as we bring you new insight on how cloud computing is already changing in its infancy. Security, content and business process are just a few categories within of wide range of topics covered in our blog

Archive for April, 2012

How to implement BPM and make it count

26-04-2012

Business process management and innovation are closely linked, but most executives struggle with implementing change in their organization and making it stick. With an abundance of resources available at cost, most companies know they want to start changing processes but they don’t know where to start.

At the IQPC’s Process Excellence for Financial Services panel, experts discussed some issues that management may encounter when trying to implement BPM. One suggestion was involving middle management in the changes, as they are often the most resistant to change. While top management sponsor transformation, and business workers enjoy changing up their daily routine, middle managers “are afraid of losing power or having their job diminished.” Making them feel a part of the process will help prevent this. The expert panelists also suggest not trying to many changes at one time, and never tie downsizing to BPM, “so process transformation doesn’t pick up negative connotations.”

One of the great resources that can facilitate BPM is mobile devices, which are likely already a seminal part of your organization. However, an AIIM study revealed that while 67 per cent of respondents considered mobile tech important to improving BPM, only 24 per cent are actually mobilizing content.

“To be part of the process revolution, information professionals need to question the use of paper in any process, understand how content is produced for, and consumed on, mobile devices, and move information capture as close to the point of origination as possible,” says a Market Watch report.

WebPal combines mobile content management and BPM in cloud software, along with many other features. To learn more about what WebPal can do for your company, go to our features page.



Finding the middle ground between PC’s and mobile devices is key to success

24-04-2012

For information technology companies, it has become increasingly important to be a master of all trades, especially in mobile and PC technology. While PC’s offer more functionality and can handle some more complex tasks, smartphones and tablets are important to help foster a mobile and remote business environment. The successful IT companies will be able to offer both to their customers.

On Monday, Intel announced at an event in San Francisco that it is launching its new Core microprocessors called Ivy Bridge for their thin laptops called Ultrabooks. Up until now Intel “has largely been shut out of the smartphone and tablet markets, where devices are most commonly powered by chips based on designs by Britain’s Arm Holdings.” Analysts say the new Ultrabook technology is an attempt to off-set moves by Arm Holdings to encroach on the PC market with the release of Windows 8 (the first Arm compatible version of Microsoft’s operating system).

“The ultrabooks and tablets are where Intel and Arm’s supporters are really going to be fighting for turf,” says Rob Engerle, a tech analyst with the Enderle Group. “Whoever wins this middle group is going to have a lot of momentum going into PCs or phones.”

As mobile content management becomes more crucial to giving businesses a competitive edge, The Globe and Mail has released some tips on developing a mobile strategy. This includes figuring out what work your employees typically use outside the office, which employees need mobile access for work, and how you expect to prevent a security breach in case an employee loses their phone or device. If it’s too far outside your company’s expertise, they suggest outsourcing.

WebPal has made sure to integrate mobility into its cloud content management systems by making your content accessible from a variety of smartphones and tablets. WebPal also connects with some of your favourite apps. To learn more, go to our features page.



What does it take for an Insurance Provider to move to the Cloud?

23-04-2012 Markus

by Markus Latzel, CEO

InsuranceFor over three years now, Palomino has been providing insurance industry clients with solutions for online quotation and policy management, based on our WebPal Content Server platform.

Naturally, we have become somewhat of an expert in the insurance business and understand the processess around clearance, binding, issuance, endorsements, and application forms. Not to mention actuary calculations, stock market data queries, and automatic financial performance rating.

What compels underwriters to trust the cloud with sensitive client and rating data? Where are the benefits for storing information off-site as opposed to in-house servers or a private data co-location?

First off, our solutions are exclusively web-based. Ubiquitous access is paramount for underwriters, satellite offices, agents, and brokers alike. Since our client’s business processes never rest, access to the underwriting work flow from anywhere, anytime, is a huge benefit compared to native desktop applications.

Secondly, cloud security actually has a leg up over on-site storage. The anonymity and logical separation of a WebPal cloud server provides better isolation from intrusion attempts than on-site data servers do. Not to mention the risk of user negligence related to data stored on local desktops and laptop computers.

However, the single most important reason cited by our clients is the agility of developing cloud-based applications. Using multiple cloud components, a work flow application can be built by a “connect-the-systems” approach, using Web Service APIs to connect document management with online application forms, or public stock market queries with a financial rating engine. This flexibility is what allows us to provide quick turnaround of online quoting forms, broker portals, rating engines and performance dash boards needed for a successful product development.

Finally, information technology is keeping pace with the launch of new insurance products, instead of holding them back.

 

 

 



In consideration of cloud security

19-04-2012

Cloud content management has grown in leaps and bounds in a very short period of time, but the security of the cloud has yet to reach the same level of maturity. It is the main reason some companies are cloud shy, and is often cited as a main focus for CIO’s.

CompTIA has released its ninth annual “Information Security Trends” study and it has found that although many U.S. companies now trust the cloud enough to use it, 58 per cent won’t put confidential company data on their cloud servers.

A Trend Micro Inc. event was held in Toronto on Tuesday for Canadian Cloud Security Awareness Week that discussed some ways companies can beef up their cloud security.

“We’ve started building security profiles, security protection, around each piece of data and around each workload,” says Steve Quane from Trend Micro, who says these changes are important because of the mobility of data.

“If the data can’t defend itself no matter where it goes, your security model is going to be insuffient.”

The director of systems engineers at VMware, David Tooners, says CIO’s need to start thinking of “the various cloud models – private, SaaS applications and public cloud platforms – as one unit.”

“All of these components add up to what you should be thinking of as ‘your cloud,’” he says.

As a secure, dedicated cloud server, WebPal gives you control over your cloud content management system, without limiting its abilities. Ask us about WebPal Enterprise to learn about secure enterprise content management and other compliancy and security options.

 



Broadcasters move to the cloud

18-04-2012

This week’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, and cloud computing was a big topic of conversation. Just as the music industry moved towards a cloud content model with iTunes and other similar software, Hollywood needs to change its methods in order to off-set the prevalence of piracy. Viewers want high-quality videos instantaneously that can be accessed from their mobile devices.

The Distributing Computing Industry Association (DCIA.info) hosted a showcase of cloud computing in a separate pavilion for the first time in NAB conference history. As competition for viewers gets grisly with players like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime dominating the space, this showcase may just be the wake-up call the industry needs. Events included panels and discussions like “Years Ahead for Cloud Computing” and “Disruptive Effects of Cloud Computing Will Continue.”

Leichtman Research surveyed 1250 homes and found 38 per cent had at least one television that was connected to an online video streaming service. Companies like Panasonic have already made moves towards a cloud-based model; they are teaming up with Aframe to create a network of upload centers in major cities that will give professionals the ability to upload and view HD videos on the cloud. This is especially handy for those in news broadcast because they will be able to file their content without returning to the station. Avid announced a cloud-based editing software, which will make news broadcast reporting more efficient than ever before.

Most young people get their entertainment from online video streaming, mostly through illegal downloading. If the broadcasting industry can successively make a change that will feature reliable video steaming that is available instantaneously from the initial broadcasting, they may just beat piracy for good.

To harness the power of the cloud for your company, WebPal offers a secure and easy-to-use content management system that is available on your desktop or on your mobile device. To learn more, visit out features page.



Canadian business owners don’t like cloud computing

12-04-2012

 Information technology has provided us with countless avenues for increasing efficiency and accessing new revenue streams for many businesses; It just stands to reason that businesses should be excited to try leveraging the power of the cloud to do so. But according to a new BMO study, conducted my Leger Marketing, only a sad percentage of business owners are interested in cloud content management systems.

50 per cent of business owners polled say they do not know what Cloud computing is, and another 40 per cent indicated no immediate plans to use cloud computing. The remaining 10 per cent said they plan on using it.

“At BMO, we continually advise small business owners to keep abreast of new ideas and developments that have the potential to be cost and time-effective solutions for their businesses,” says Cathy Pin, Vice President of Commercial Banking at BMO. “Cloud computing provides small businesses with access to platforms and enterprise solutions once reserved solely for big businesses.”

“This services model can also lower overall IT costs, while giving business access to valuable analytics, productivity and collaboration tools,” says Bal Sahjpaul, also with BMO.

WebPal’s cloud content server provides easy organization for all your documents. You can share documents online, convert to various formats and access the server from your mobile device, all while making sure your documents are secure. For more information, go to our features page.



Do Documents Dream of Business Processes?

11-04-2012 Markus

by Greg Leighton, PhD

As a matter of course, you expect your documents to be available to you whenever you need them. But what about those frequent periods of time between accesses, while they are “sleeping”? Is there more they can do for your organization during these idle periods?

Awareness is growing that documents and other types of unstructured data, such as emails, news feeds, multimedia clips, and social media content, represent a valuable source of information about an organization’s business processes. Various estimates suggest that as much as 80% of a modern organization’s data is unstructured. Despite this, most attention thus far has been paid to mining structured information — such as transactional data — that fits tidily into relational databases. This is partly because the rigid schemas of database tables represent less of a moving target, facilitating the development of focused mining strategies capable of exploiting structural knowledge during their search for interesting patterns.

A second contributing factor has been the ever-rising importance of unstructured data within the enterprise. While relational databases have consistently played a key role since their introduction in the 1970s, various trends over the intervening decades have contributed to grant a higher status to unstructured data. These include the introduction of document authoring software, the adoption of email and instant messaging as core business communication tools, and the recent use of social media platforms as a means for increasing brand awareness and for obtaining immediate customer feedback. In response, effective solutions for mining information from such sources are only now emerging.

Utilizing the WebPal.net cloud infrastructure, we’re currently developing efficient and scalable methods for gleaning valuable business knowledge from documents, as they “sleep”. While maintaining the same levels of availability and responsiveness our users have grown accustomed to, we will be able to offer the many additional benefits presented by a robust document mining solution.



The face of business is getting cloudy

10-04-2012

 The face of business is changing as IT and cloud computing become a part of everyday vernacular in the office. The change has been slow and gradual since cloud computing first emerged some years ago, but it’s speeding up faster than ever. As recession-like economic conditions persist, companies need to adopt some cost saving measures, and harnessing the power of mobility, business process management and the cloud is just the way to do that.

In November 2011, Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist and Program Director of the MIT Centre for Digital Business published an article in the Harvard Business Review. He stated that cloud computing is “a sea change – a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed. It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing…”

Even early cloud adopters who are looking to improve business process management need to keep up-to-date with the trends in IT, because it’s undergoing constant evolution as well.

“The IT function of 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state,” says one report. “Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions such as HR and Finance, or be externally sourced.”

Cloud computing and the resulting globalizing effect means great things for India, as their outsourcing industry is booming. A story in The Globe and Mail says that business process operations (BPO) and IT operations account for 7.5 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ 2.8 million people.

“This is where the whole business world in India is heading,” says Muskan Chalwa, who trains corporate lawyers for the legal outsourcing firm Pangea3.

The WebPal software harnesses the power of the cloud by offering users the efficiency and cost-saving measures they expect from cloud software, and more. We give you control on scalability, privacy and help make sure your content is secure. Cross all types of barriers by jumping on the cloud with WebPal.



Top Cloud Security Issues

05-04-2012

When companies discuss their cloud content management practices, the discussion inevitably turns to security. Cloud content management is still a relatively new space, and changes to corporate processes and structure are inevitable. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has released a report to help companies navigate the muddy waters of content management systems. Marnix Dekker, one of the authors of the report, says structural change will come first.

Organizations have started switching from running systems internally to outsourcing and using cloud services. So the skills and focus of IT staff have to change,” says Dekker.

Dekker goes on the say that companies need to be smarter about asking the right questions from their providers. One field where this is difficult is incident response time.

“It is difficult to write a contract on how quick incidents should be resolved because they can be very complicated to address. But for users it is important to get data on how fast incidents were or were not resolved,” says Dekker.

Another major security issues is Bring-Your-Own-Device policies that companies have adopted, which allows employees to use varying operating systems.

“There’s a wide consensus between security professionals that the practice of employees brings their own devices to work is exposing corporate networks to serious security risks because of lack of control over those devices.”

Security is obviously a large concern for cloud content management system adopters, which means providers need to make it a priority. WebPal is a secure cloud server that can be fully isolated, while still remaining flexible to your organizational needs. Ask us about WebPal Enterprise to learn about Secure Enterprise Content Management and other compliancy and security options.



Steve Jobs makes mobile tech cool

03-04-2012

 The late Steve Jobs has become one of the most ubiquitous individuals in information technology, and some say he has made being a geek cool. During his time as CEO of Apple Inc., he revolutionized mobile technology through his design, marketing, and creation of the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Now it has been announced by Variety.com that Ashton Kutcher is set to play Jobs in an upcoming biopic, starting with his time as a hippie in the 60’s to the time he co-founded Apple.

A film starring a Hollywood heartthrob is only going to increase the fervor surrounding Mr. Jobs, in the public and in the offices of other technology companies. A recent blog on the Wall Street Journal site talked about how it is becoming more and more common for CEO’s to use the Steve Jobs biography as a roadmap to success. Prasad Thammineni, the chief executive of a file-sharing start-up called Office Drop, is being called a Steve Jobs copycat by his employees for constantly sending them passages from the book and using the Apple CEO’s catchphrases.

“Some employees are teasing me about when I’ll start wearing black turtlenecks,” says Thammineni.

Jobs was a big influence on the mobile market, which is now expanding at a rate faster than anyone could have imagined. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems like WebPal need to incorporate mobile capabilities in their products just so they can stay relevant.

“Mobile capabilities are more important than ever for ECM vendors and their clients. Users are creating large amounts of content on their mobile devices as these devices become more sophisticated. All ECM vendors need to have the capability to bring this content within the enterprise’s control,” said George Goodall, Senior Research Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group.

WebPal connects with many of your favourite iPhone apps, as well as Android and Blackberry apps. Check out our features page for everything WebPal can do for you!